Saturday, December 31, 2005


The Olakanathan Temple on a hill top at Mamallapuram. This is a Shiva Temple, and the deity is referred to as the Olakaneeswaran, a reference to the fiery third eye. According to popular legend this temple top acted as a light house, with a fire lit on top, when Mamallapuram was a main port during the Pallava regime over 1,300 years back. Posted by Picasa
Tourists at the Olakanathan Temple, Mamallapuram. Posted by Picasa
A monk at the Olakanathan Temple. I liked the bright splash of colour against the brown background and decided to take the pic ignoring the poor lighting and the flare. Posted by Picasa
A view of the Olakanathan Temple, Mamallapuram. This pic was taken with the Mamiya Press camera I've referred to earlier.  Posted by Picasa
A section of the previous pic magnified to show the details of the carvings at the Olakanathan temple, Mamallapuram. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, December 25, 2005

The light house - a modern addition - at Mamallapuram that was centuries ago a thriving port town. Posted by Picasa
A new lighthouse at the ancient port town of the Pallavas. Posted by Picasa
A modern day sculptor at Mamallapuram. Posted by Picasa
Mamallapuram, primarily a tourist town. A street performer gets a token of appreciation from a tourist. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, December 24, 2005

HAPPY CHRISTMAS - The sky over the Sacred Heart Church, Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu. Posted by Picasa
The Sacred Heart Church, Tuticorin. Posted by Picasa

The Mural at Mamallapuram - Arjuna's penance

An extract from the book I' ve already quoted -Mahabalipuram, published by the Archeological Survey of India."This magificent carving is unique in the range of Indian art. Two large boulders with a narrow fissure in between have been chosen to represent a series of rows of gods and goddesses like Chandra (moon), Surya (sun), pairs of Kinnaras and Siddhas, Gandharvas, Apsaras (all of them celestial beings and demigods) etc rushing towards a central point near the cleft where a sage stands on his left foot deeply engaged in penance involving physical mortification. "
..."This scene is generally taken to represent a story from the Mahabarata in which Arjuna, the epic-hero, preformed penance to please Siva and thus to obtain the Pasupata weapon from him."
Apart from this in the cleft can be seen the nagas (snake-like beings) and a range of wild animals including a herd of elephants.
The high point in Mamallapuram, Arjuna's penance. Here is a full view of the mural, at a guess this must be about 80 ft in width by about 30 ft in height and is considered one of a kind. I took two separate pics and got them stitched digitally (by a professional)- this way the panoramic spread has a better impact I felt.  Posted by Picasa
The mural curves around the boulder to the right so here it is in a separate frame, Posted by Picasa
A full frame view of the mural, scanned from a transparency. Posted by Picasa
Live animals form an extension of the mural. Posted by Picasa
A section of the mural with modern day additions. Posted by Picasa
This section holds the main characters from which this mural takes its name, Arjuna's penance. The bearded and skeleton-thin character standing on one leg to the right is Arjuna, to his left carrying the trident is the four-armed shiva blessing him. Shiva is surrounded by his `ganas' gods and goddesses. part human and part animal characters, and the more earthly animals and hunters.  Posted by Picasa
This lot is directly above the elephants. Posted by Picasa
The herd of elephants, the most prominent of the figures in the mural - I can count 10 in this herd. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, December 17, 2005

The elephant in the five ratha complex at Mamallapuram, the monument by the Pallavas. Behind it is the Nakula-Sahadeva ratha. (By mistake I have reversed the order in which I originally planned to post this series of pic. Please scroll down and start from the pic that shows the whole complex for the more detailed caption,) Posted by Picasa
Some details - the figure in the centre is Indra, the king of the gods on his elephant, airavata. Posted by Picasa
A closer view of the Arjuna ratha. Posted by Picasa
The lion. Posted by Picasa
In black and white. Posted by Picasa
A different angle of view of the five rathas. Posted by Picasa